First, why would any of us even want a guest blogger? Isn’t the ceaseless stream of insight-packed punditry that clacks forth from our keyboards enough to satiate the social media multitudes, the crawling bots, the hackers looking to hijack your site from some Balkan basement?
Yet, there are instances when engaging an outside voice can offer some meager incentive for allowing them to adulterate our pristine content cornucopias:
- Providing “new” perspectives and information to our “readers,” that uncouth swarm of content scanners who are typically only brought up short by TMZ reposts and cat videos.
- An opportunity to lend our blog or site greater credibility (as if!) by spackling it with the P.O.V.s of so-called “experts.”
- Creating relationships and complimentary content sharing, cross-linking and other bullshit connections with these people, who for some impenetrable reason have much larger followings than us.
- The chance to address topics and areas where we lack expertise, or are unable to convincingly fake it.
- Less work for us. Let’s admit it, this should be first on anyone’s list.
What's so great about expertise, anyway?
Once we’ve gagged down the merit of engaging some nudnik to deliver a guest post, we need to decide who to approach, and how to cajole them to toss off a few linkbait bloviations.
As for the ‘who,’ that’s the simple part. Friends, let’s be honest: whoever constitutes a worthy “expert” is anyone we identify who’s got a better reputation and a bigger following that we can fob onto like a viral vampire bat; the kind of person who combines an insatiable yen for exposure with a conviction their every hoary chestnut is glossed with diamonds.
In other words, someone just like us. Only more successful.
What kind of approaches can we employ to not just find them, but convince them to provide us with that post that’ll lift our rankings and boffo our backlinks faster than a video of Guy Kawasaki talking about that time Steve Jobs got really annoyed at somebody?
Highlight the mutual benefits:
ME: I’ve got a site ranked in the top 242 for guinea pig apparel design, and hope to have a storefront on Etsy once they stop laughing. I’ve got a killer link strategy and can offer you a link at the top of the post, inside the post, bottom of the post, the works.
GUEST: Who are you? How did you get this number?
Appeal to their ego:
ME: I’ll want to include your bio, of course, so readers can see just how noteworthy and highly-regarded you are in this area. Plus, I’ll feature you on a “guest bloggers” gallery page, and I’ll obviously want to include your RSS feed or links that’ll take them straight to your own website.
GUEST: What’s a website?
Hock their wares:
ME: I’ll give you prominent ad placement on my site. I’ll have my own ecommerce module up and running again once that injunction is lifted, and I can feature that new book of yours…uh…
GUEST: The Condom Cookbook.
Leverage special dates, events and occasions:
ME: My blog will be celebrating its first birthday next month, and I’d love to have you contribute a guest post!
GUEST: Happy to help. I’ve got a stock b-day post I’ll send you right now.
ME: Um, I was hoping for something more original, authentic and insightful?
GUEST: This is for your blog, right?
Recruit via announcements and posts:
ME: Thanks for replying to my forum post asking for guest bloggers! Can you tell me a few things about your audience? Or how much site traffic you get?
GUEST: That’s hard to figure, really, since you can have as many as 50 or 60 guys a day using the same IP from prison.
Launch a guest blogging recruitment page:
ME: I see you found my guest blogger recruitment page; I hope the guidelines on what I need in a post were clear enough?
GUEST: No, seriously; this is an actual blog? Guinea pig apparel?
Solicit experts among your colleagues and family:
ME: Honey, I think your expertise in Andalusian horse gelding practices would be hugely interesting to my followers, even if most of them may need some education on the terms “gelding” or “horse.”
WIFE: How did you get this number?
To sum up: recruiting a guest blogger can be a constructive and mutually beneficial experience, as long as you’re prepared for the inevitable psychic blow of discovering your own digital irrelevancy.
If you fail at securing a guest blogger, take heart! Don't forget those other tried-and-true tactics that’ll bring you the kind of traffic you so desperately crave: